Chinese refusal to provide protective clothing to Taiwanese leads to standoff, 30 last-minute passengers turned away
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
The odyssey of the two charter jets selected to evacuate a total of 361 Taiwanese nationals out of Wuhan is a study in contrasts. After over a month of tense cross-strait negotiations, including a dispute over which country's airlines would carry out the evacuations, the two sides came to a compromise in which there would be two flights, with one flight by Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) and another by China Eastern Airlines (CEA).
On the flight operated by CAL, Taiwan followed the strict protocols of the "Yokohama model" established during the evacuation of Taiwanese travelers from the ill-fated Diamond Princess. Each passenger was not only provided a face mask and protective clothing but was also carefully placed at a specific distance from others.
However, when Taiwanese authorities requested that passengers boarding the CEA jet also be provided protective clothing, Chinese officials insisted that there was "no need" for such gear and that face masks were sufficient, reported the Liberty Times. In addition, finding that there were still some empty seats on the plane, Chinese officials tried to add 30 more passengers at the last minute who were not on the finalized list of evacuees. [FULL STORY